Category Archives: Credibility

Just getting on with it can make you more confident

 

 

aidan-turnerIn recent interviews Poldark star Aidan Turner has talked about blagging his way into the role by telling casting directors he could ride a horse.  He couldn’t really, but once he had secured the part he gave it a go.  I heard him telling the same entertaining story to Sara Cox, relishing the tale and amused by his own cheek.  My favourite part of the interview was when he said ‘I nailed it. I just pretended to be good and it turned into a real thing’.

You can hear what he said here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p046lgs3

By contrast, in the past few weeks I have spoken to at least five intelligent, competent, fabulous women, all of whom did not go for a promotion, take on new responsibilities or leave their comfort zone because they ‘didn’t feel ready’.  When I asked when they would feel ready the answer was always ‘in a couple of years’.  So the next question has to be ‘What will have changed in two years?’.  That’s a question that they usually can’t answer.  Why?  Because nothing will have changed in their thinking.  No matter what happens they probably still won’t feel ready in 2 years’ time.

The truth is, if we waited until we felt ready there is very little we would achieve.  Sometimes you just have to ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen*, take a deep breath and dive right in.

Getting over yourself and getting on with it is one of my favourite ways of boosting confidence. Men, like Aidan, do it all the time.  If we act confident, we are confident; we become what we think.

Confidence is something many women struggle with.  On 24th September 2016 I’ll be running a Woman flyingworkshop designed to help you understand what affects your own confidence (it’s different for everyone) and then find ways of stopping your self-doubt from getting in your way.  For more info and to book click here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/be-more-confident-registration-25923863975

And whatever you do, be more like Aidan, but please keep your shirt on!

*You could make a mistake, you might feel a bit daft, maybe even make a bit of a fool of yourself but people will respect you for having a go.  And if whatever you’re trying doesn’t go quite as well as you would have liked, you will still have had a wonderful experience that you can learn from, that will help you do even better next time and be more confident about trying

Why your lifestyle can be affecting your credibility at work

Why your lifestyle can be affecting your credibility at work

‘Nobody ever takes me seriously’ complained Rachel*. ‘I’m as qualified as they are and I’m doing a good job with clients but they treat me like the office junior. I’m really fed up with it.

‘Why don’t they take you seriously?’Messing_about_at_work

‘Because I’m a girl and the youngest person there. They’re all just sexist old farts.’

‘Well, Sally’s only a couple of years older than you. Do they take her seriously?’

‘Yes, but she’s different.’

‘Why?’

‘I don’t know, she just is.’

I decided to park Rachel’s unflattering description of her colleagues for now and instead asked her to tell me more about Sally, how she behaves, what she says and the image she projects at work. Gradually we started to unpick why Sally is different from Rachel and why people take her seriously. Here’s the first thing Rachel identified:

‘She never crawls in to work, late, complaining about her hangovers.’

‘Do you?’

‘Sometimes.’ Rachel paused. ‘Most weeks, to be honest. I need to stop that. I need to keep my personal life to myself.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I talk a lot about what’s going at home, my boyfriend, my flatmates and what I’ve been doing with my friends.’

‘Why is that a problem?’

‘I do it too much.’ Rachel paused again. ‘It looks like I care more about what’s happening outside work. And nobody at work needs to know that I had a row with Jason, or drank too much on Saturday. It’s none of their business. It makes me look bad. I need to focus on work stuff at work and leave what’s happening at home behind me when I get to the office’

‘It sounds like you don’t always behave appropriately then’.

‘I had never thought of it like that, I was just having a laugh. But laughs at work and laughs outside are different. You can enjoy your job, but having a laugh with your colleagues isn’t the same as what you do and say when you’re having a laugh with your friends. I had never thought of that before. It’s no wonder they don’t take me seriously. They think I’m a party animal who lives in a soap opera.’ Rachel slumped back in her chair, her hands over her face. I gave her a minute or two to reflect. When she was ready I resumed the coaching session.

‘OK, so it sounds like you’re blurring the boundaries between home and work a bit too much. Is that fair?’

‘Definitely. I forget where I am sometimes. I need to think more about what’s appropriate. Sally never talks about her social life. Ever. If she’s out with people from work she doesn’t get drunk, or gossip, or rehash things the next day. She has a good time, she’s a good laugh, but she doesn’t bring it in to work. That’s one of the things I’m doing wrong. I feel really embarrassed. I think I need to change a lot.’

It’s easy to blame others for not taking you seriously but, as always, you need to look at yourself and your own behaviour first. In your 20’s you often socialise with colleagues and that can make it hard to adopt a more professional persona when you’re back in the office. It can also be difficult to identify and maintain clear boundaries between your social life and your work life and, as with Rachel, lack of boundaries may be one of the things that undermine your credibility.

We’ll look at more factors that influence how seriously you will be taken in my next blog. You may alos want to look at recent blogs on becoming a manager: newly-promoted-and-its-all-got-weird-heres-some-help and developing your confidence as a leader: modesty-and-confidence. In the meantime, if you recognise yourself in Rachel and want to clarify your own boundaries click on the link below for a free coaching session, on me.

* All names have been changed. This story has been told with the permission of ‘Rachel’.

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